Tag Archives: Bay area

If I were a billionaire

If I were a billionaire I’d fund the following research study immediately.  Where ?  Not Research Triangle Park, the Acela corridor or the Bay Area but Sturgis South Dakota.  Why?

Spend 11 minutes of your time looking at the following video — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNIEOCFGr3s&feature=emb_rel_end%3Chttps://nam02.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?

The 80th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally began there 9 August. It is expected to attract between 250,000 and 500,000 people and last 10 days.  Masks are not required and the video shows that very few are wearing them.  Note the rather close seating for eating and drinking, the stores and restaurants with low ceilings and long horizontal extent (and rather poor ventilation)  I’m sure the actual event will have far closer human contact than shown as the video was shot when the festival was about to begin.

You’d never get an experiment like this to pass an institutional review board, but there it is for the taking  Mr. Billionaire.

Spend some of that cash getting vans to Sturgis and offer free COVID-19 testing (both antibody testing and genome testing) to any one wanting it.  This is an independent bunch, so all you ask is that they stay in touch and let you know how they’re doing in the weeks and months ahead.   Tell them, they’ll hear the results after the 19th when the festival ends if they want, so they’ll need a way for you to contact them.

Probably most will not divulge information about themselves, but you will  surely find some cooperative people.  So ask them to tell you about age, sex, medical conditions.  Offer to do a BMI for them.  Have your staff eyeball their ethnicity, rather than ask.  Since you are funding the study, you’l be able to keep the information completely private.

The study will tell us a huge amount about transmission, susceptibility, clinical course etc. etc.  You don’t need another house or mistress.  Take that cash and do something for humanity.

Of course, the population isn’t representative.  Almost entirely white, very few people over 70 or under 15 (please spend 11 minutes of your time looking at the video.  The level of obesity and smoking  is impressive).

Of course there will be ethical concerns.  Suppose you find someone shedding the virus — do you contact them?  Probably best to wait a few a weeks before testing.   This is a naturalistic study after all and you’re a billionaire not a doc.

Hurry there are just 7 more days to go.